Pastoral Note - 28 Jan 2016

Hi Table View Methodist Family,

This Sunday we reflect on the story of Abraham.  Iain will be preaching and I (Angus) will be leading worship.

Every human being has 'foundational stories' these are the ideas, experiences, belief systems on which you base your life decisions.  Some of these stories produce damaging results. For example; in South Africa many of us were raised to believe in racism.  When a damaging story takes root in our imaginations it is nearly impossible for it to be removed.  Our minds are lazy; they don't like to learn new things; so we accept everything that affirms our 'foundational story' and reject everything that challenges it.
Maintaining healthy 'foundational stories' is very important.  We need to examine the stories that we live by in order to remove them and replace them with God's story for us.  Like the Psalmist prays: 

'Who can detect their errors?  Clear me from hidden faults.'
- Psalm 19:12
Last week we began reading through the Bible from the book of Genesis.  The first 11 chapters of Genesis are what some Bible Scholars call 'Primeval History', a history of origins.  This week we begin to explore the story of Abraham - the founding father of Judaism.  Abraham lived in Ur (modern day Iraq) and heard God calling him to: "Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you..." - Genesis 12:1
In choosing to be obedient to God's call Abraham allows God to start narrating his story, the story of a new nation, whose task it will be to reveal God's living legacy of love to the world.  One of the ways in which God reveals his love is by inspiring new stories - the 'Primeval Histories' of Genesis 1-11 stand in stark contrast to the 'Primeval Histories' that Abraham would have been taught in Ur.
In the Ur stories (The Gilgamesh Epic) that Abraham would have grown up with - the gods create the world through war and violence.  A flood comes when the gods are grumpy with people for making too much noise.  In Abraham and Israel's inspired foundational story God creates a good world in love (Gen 1:31).  The flood story tells of God's sadness at all the evil people that did to each other and his hope for Noah (Gen 6:5-6).  These concepts become foundational for Israel's understanding of who they are and who God is. 

As you continue to read The Story ask yourself what your 'foundational stories' are.  These foundational stories enter into our consciousness through our experiences, our relationships, the things we say to ourselves and to each other, the propaganda we accept.  Pray that you would have the grace to ground yourself in God's story about you and the world around you.
When we meet every Sunday to pray and to read scripture we are reminding ourselves to live in God's story; we are inviting God to drown out the voices that distract us.

Communion and Covenant Next Sunday 7 Feb
Next Sunday (7 February) we will renew our covenant with God as we say our Wesleyan covenant prayer.  The covenant prayer is a prayer of surrender:
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
Basically a chance to ask God to be the teller of your story.
Small Groups and Bible Study
Thank you to all those who attended Bible Study last Monday evening.  This Monday evening at 730pm we will reflect on Faith.  St Paul uses Abraham's faith to illustrate what it means to be 'Saved by faith.'
On Thursday nights there are two new small groups forming led by Ian Milne and Jacques Kellerman.  Please pray for these groups as they begin their journey together.  Our youth pastor Iain will also be starting a cell group for teens.
Valentines Breakfast

Tickets for the Valentines Breakfast will be on sale from this Sunday.

Youth Group
Junior Youth (gr 1-6) is from 530-7pm on Friday evening and senior (7-12) from 730-10.  Iain needs helpers for senior youth so if you feel called in that direction please chat to him.

God bless,
Rev Angus Kelly